Nonprofit Planeterra Mobilizes Community Relief Efforts in Wake of Flooding in Peru

9 February 2010

Concerned Groups and Individuals Asked to Make Online Donations to Peru Flood Relief and If Traveling to Cusco Bring Essential Items, Clothing and Food

Flooding in PeruTORONTO – Over 12,000 people have been uprooted and/or severely impacted by the late January rains and flooding in Peru’s Sacred Valley between Cusco and Machu Picchu.

Planeterra has mobilized an onsite team to assess the situation and help with immediate needs of the local people. The nonprofit has established an online help site: Peru Flood Relief where the public can make charitable donations.

One of the communities severely impacted by the flooding is Ccaccaccollo, home to Planeterra's women's weaving cooperative, a community travelers visit as part of the organization’s Project Peru voluntourism adventure.

“Because indigenous communities such as Ccaccaccollo maintain a traditional way of life and are dedicated mainly to pastoral and agricultural activities, they are especially vulnerable to heavy rains and flooding,” said Richard G. Edwards, Director of Planeterra.

A company blog describes Ccaccaccollo's main plaza, an area usually bustling with women demonstrating their craft and selling colorful textiles, as flooded out and empty. Market stalls, usually overflowing with locally produced hats, change purses, shawls and scarves, are instead filled with mud and rocks.

Planeterra has already donated the funds necessary to fuel the equipment required to fix a main road and clear landslides. In addition, the organization is looking at ways tourism dollars might help by reworking itineraries to include some of the most impacted communities in future tour itineraries.

A donation goal of $25,000 has been set of which to date nearly $9,000 has been raised. Through a partnership with Gap Adventures that covers all of Planeterra’s administration costs, 100% of all donations will go directly to those in need.

An appeal has also gone out to anyone now in or planning to visit Cuzco. Donations of blankets, sleeping bags, warm clothes for children & adults, jackets, raincoats, tents & mattresses, dried food (rice, pasta, oatmeal, cans of tuna, sugar, salt, evaporated milk etc) and matches can be dropped off at: Hotel Tupac Yupanqui (Calle 236 San Agustin) in Cusco.

“Planeterra has committed to immediately provide the funds needed to help fix the road and clear the landslide. We will continue to help the recovery effort and are relying on support from our travelers, which will not only benefit Ccaccaccollo but many of the outlying communities as well,” explains Edwards.

In the last week of January, just half way through the rainy season, a 72-hour-period of torrential rains caused entire communities to be evacuated due to massive flooding that washed out roads, collapsed houses and bridges, destroyed crops and temporarily cut off all access to Machu Picchu. The government is doing its best to send supplies to the areas that have been hit the worst; however many communities have still not received outside support, according to Edwards who immediately sent his own staff there to assess damages and determine how Planeterra might help.

Planeterra is a global non-profit dedicated to sustainable community development through travel. Founded in 2003 by Gap Adventures, Planeterra evolved out of a long history of travelers committed to finding ways to give back to the people and places they visit. Planeterra selects the projects and works with them to arrange voluntour travel programs worldwide. For information on Planeterra’s year-round voluntour programs please call 416-260-0999 or go to: